A Best of France selection
D. Porthault invented printed, fine Egyptian cotton sheets with irresistible patterns of colorful hearts (inspired by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor), stars and Louise de Vilmorin’s signature clovers, attracting aficionados from the Kennedys to Woody Allen and Bill Gates. Longtime American clients Joan and Bernard Carl, who bought the company in 2005, are reviving and updating archival designs, still manufactured in France. The hallmark of Noël, established in 1883, is exquisite hand-embroidery—its gold-embellished organdy tablecloths are the ultimate in dining luxury, often gracing the gala tables of Versailles and the Elysée Palace. Relative newcomer Valombreuse, founded in 1994, uses vibrant embroidered motifs inspired by 18th- and 19th-century botanical paintings. Muriel Grateau sends a breeze of modernity rippling through the venerable French tradition of haute household linens. Grateau’s sophisticated less-is-more linen tablecloths, place mats and napkins come in a cool one hundred colors, making it almost impossible to choose from such innovative shades as Rose Indien, Fuschia, Smoke, Tango Orange, Absinthe, Acid Green, Bleu Klein, Wengé and Basalt. The fabulous palette has made her an insider favorite of American decorators as well as such celebrity clients as Catherine Deneuve and Calvin Klein. The modernist linens set off her minimalist handmade porcelain, also on show in her vaulted white and black Left Bank boutique. D. Porthault’s website; Nöel’s website; Valombreuse’s website; Muriel Grateau’s website
Originally published in the December 2008 issue of France Today.
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